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Liberty Sweeps Rider in Home Opener
Liberty stormed out to an early lead in each set, and rolled to a 3-0 (25-21, 25-12, 25-10) win over Rider in the first match of the 2011 Liberty Invitational presented by Pepsi, Friday at the Vines Center.
The Lady Flames (2-6) attacked at a season-best .429 efficiency in their home opener, sending down 42 kills against just nine errors. Lillie Happel posted a match-high 16 kills, hitting .387 while also serving up three of Liberty's season-best nine aces. The Broncs (2-6) were held to a .014 attack percentage on the match.
Kendle Rollins posted six blocks (one solo, five assists) on the afternoon, helping Liberty total seven team blocks. Rollins also registered six kills at a .500 pace. Jade Craycraft added a career-high-tying four aces to lead the Lady Flames.
Liberty opened set one with a 5-0 burst while Ansley Gebben served, with Rollins notching back-to-back blocks. The Lady Flames' lead hovered around five points for a majority of the set until Rider mounted a late comeback.
The Broncs drew to within one point at 19-18 with a four-point rally in which Jaclyn Webber tallied two kills. Gebben came through with a pair of kills to push Liberty's lead back to two points, and Rollins ended the set, 25-21, with a kill.
The Lady Flames hit .296 in set one, compared to .043 for the Broncs. Happel led all players with six first-set kills.
The second set began similarly to the first frame, with Liberty taking an early 5-0 lead on three kills by Happel, one from Courtney Boggs and a Becca Haraf ace. Happel served for four points during a 5-0 rally, including a pair of aces, as Liberty surged to a 12-2 advantage. The Lady Flames pulled away from that point, cruising to a 25-12 victory for a 2-0 match lead.
Liberty held Rider to a .000 attack percentage in set two while hitting .520 itself. Happel added six more kills on nine swings.
The white-clad Lady Flames broke open the third set with a 10-0 rally to take a commanding 18-3 second-set advantage. Craycraft served nine of those points, including three aces. Liberty continued to hold a large lead throughout the duration of the second set. Lauren Bosche sealed the 25-10 victory with her first kill of the season on match point.
Happel led the Lady Flames in kills for the sixth straight match, and recorded her 400th career kill. Boggs paced the home team with 18 assists.
Jaclyn Webber led Rider with nine kills, attacking at a .167 clip. Shelbie Stannard chipped in a match-high nine digs.
Liberty will next compete against Saint Francis (Pa.) Friday at 7:30 p.m. Rider will face CSU Bakersfield Saturday at 9 a.m. to open day two of the Liberty Invitational.